I can’t count the number of times I have heard, “Oh, you’re JUST a stay at home mom?” Other versions of this would be, “Oh, you don’t go to work?” and my all time favorite, “Oh, that’s right. You don’t work. You stay at home.” For years I bottled my frustration when I heard these words. Lately, I don’t hear them as much since I work from home. Apparently, working from home makes me a more valuable citizen in the community. The joke is on you, though, because, though I do have a “real” job now, I still consider myself a stay at home mom. Last time I checked, I was, indeed, at home, and I was, indeed, a mom.
On behalf of my fellow stay at home moms, I will set a few things straight for the rest of the world. You may think I need to be more positive in my blog, so here goes: I’m positive you are clueless if you think stay at home mothers don’t work. (Tee-hee, but I still like you! The “southern” in me won’t let me be purposely rude, you know.)
Don’t get me wrong. Going to work is a noble cause. I know your job is important, and you are probably one of the most important people there. Well, so am I. I would bet your employees will never go to counseling and blame everything on you. My subordinates may very well end up in counseling, and when they do, I can assure you my name will be mentioned. In fact, I will be the root of all their problems.
At your job, you probably make decisions and make plans. I do too. The happiness and well being of at least 4 people depends on the plans I make. While your meetings may not happen if you don’t plan them, the lives of several people rely on me. Trust me on this. While you may have your Google calendar pulled up on your computer at work, I have my great big calendar in my head, and it tells me who needs to leave by 8:50, who has to be picked up at 9:15, who has to arrive at a class by 9:36, etc. The world around me would come to a screeching halt if I was not available to answer the daily question of, “What are we doing tomorrow?”
At your workplace, I would bet the future of the company depends on you. Really. I don’t mean that sarcastically. (Sarcastic? Me? Never.) I would bet the boss will be unhappy if you don’t land that next account because it means big bucks for the corporation. At my workplace, the future of the world may very well depend on me. Oh? I’m being overly dramatic, you say? I would bet Adolph Hitler’s mother and Martin Luther King Jr.’s mother would disagree. This can go either way, people. Good or bad, my little darlings will affect the world around them.
I would bet you are sometimes responsible for arranging catering for your job. At the bare minimum, you sometimes order lunch for everyone. I share your challenge there. I answer the question of, “What’s for breakfast? (Lunch? Supper?)” every day. I would venture to say that my co-workers would starve without me, because they certainly wouldn’t fix it for themselves.
Do your coworkers depend on you to cloth them? No? Then, I’ve got you beat. My 16 year old would wear the same underwear everyday for a week if I didn’t intervene. (Sorry, Beetle.) The nasal well being of anyone in our area depends on my job performance. Beat that! (Okay, I must say here that the Beetle would not really wear the same underwear for a week. He is actually a very clean child. Well, his clothes are clean. I won’t talk about his room.)
I’ll bet, at your job, you get bonuses and time off for good behavior. You win on that point.
I wonder what the job description of a mom would look like in the newspaper? It might be:
Wanted, tireless female worker who knows how to cook to please the pickiest of eaters. Must be able to clean and needs to know how to get bubble gum out of hair. Will be responsible for feeding, clothing, loving, nurturing, teaching. Must be well versed in laundry, stitching up clothes and possibly dogs, cleaning and more. Needs to be familiar with math from simple counting through trigonometry so assistance with homework can be offered. Must be able to fix any boo-boo and heal any hurt even when the sufferer can not tell where it hurts. Should be able to counsel, advise and guide individuals of all ages. There is no pay except for a rare hug. Pay decreases as seniority increases. Candidate should not expect raises, bonuses or gratitude. Time requirements are 168 hours a week for the next 65 years and/or for the rest of your life.
So, as you realize that my job as Head Chef and Bottlewasher at my house is an important role, I have a few more things for you to ponder:
1. Think of the last time you heard someone say, “I wish my mother had spent less time at home.” Uh-huh. That’s what I thought.
2. Did your own mother work outside the home? If not, did you think less of her as a person? Did she lounge on the couch eating bonbons all day? If your answer to either of the last two question is “yes,” you need to talk to your counselor about that.
3. If it wasn’t for the lowly stay-at-home moms, how would the class parties and field trips at your child’s school ever get done? (I need to add “party planner” to my job description above.)
4. Who do you call to pick up your child from school if she is sick and you have an important meeting to attend? Chances are, it’s someone who stays at home. (Oh, I forgot “taxi driver” in the job description!)
5. When is the last time you called your mother and thanked her? Go ahead. Call her. I’ll wait…. While you're talking to her, apologize for calling her "just" a stay at home mom.
On behalf of the stay at home moms everywhere, I accept your apology. Just don’t let it happen again. Love, Al